Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lura Schwarz Smith Workshop

Last month Lura and her husband Kerby were here on Maui for a team workshop. Kerby taught "Demystifying Digital Photography for Quilters" and Lura taught "Designing Art Quilts." Both classes were fabulous!

In Kerby's class I learned more about my digital camera in two days than I have in the year that I've had it. I feel much more comfortable using Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 and more confident in being able to send digital images to shows, exhibits, and for other reasons. Kerby is a patient and informative teacher. He sent us a questionnaire prior to class to gauge our experience and get and idea of what he was in for. I don't have a lot of pictures to post for this class but I learned a lot and will definitely keep using what I've learned into the future.

For Lura's session, I worked on re-creating one of my favorite pictures of Bruce with our old dog, Maile. Here is what I did:

I fell in love with using the Prismacolor pencils (I have a giant (128 pc?) set that I've hardly ever used, now I will use them more often!) and the Tsukinenko inks and Fabrico markers. I learned a LOT in this class and will keep using what I've learned to add more dimension and life to my work. I recently used the prismacolor pencils on my latest "Honu" quilt for the eye and I am so pleased. I will try to post a good shot of it when I've closer to completion.

I have a couple of other projects to finish in the meantime, but I hope to get this finished in time to take to Art Quilt Tahoe in November.

One of the exercises Lura did was have us draw a face. This was a great way to loosen up - she goes at a fast pace and expects you to keep up so you don't overthink what you are doing as you go through each step.

You will take away a lot of tools for your toolbox in this class. If I have one piece of advice, it's this: Break the spell and touch the fabric with your ink!! Once you make the first mark, everything else will come together. In every art class I take (drawing, painting, etc.), the hardest thing is for me to "break the spell." I look at that damn surface forever! But once I touch it, everything starts to flow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Opportunity Quilt - LAST FEW DAYS!

An internet friend from the QuiltArt list has a post on her blog about an opportunity quilt drawing. The two quilts are being raffled in a drawing to raise money for a woman and her husband who have some astronomical medical bills to pay. For more information CLICK HERE. The last day to purchase tickets is June 30. Just thought I'd pass the word on. Linda Minton, on whose blog this is posted, is a reputable quilter in Texas. It's not a scam.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fun with Trip Planning

Bruce and I are taking a trip in August! We'll fly into Las Vegas and drive through Utah and Idaho, eventually arriving in Cody, Wyoming. Then we'll drive back down to Arizona and fly home from Las Vegas. All this over two glorious weeks!

We are having fun planning our stops which, right now, include St. George, Escalante, and Moab, Utah; and Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.

Last night we were talking about where to stay in one of the towns along the way and Sheraton was noted as a good one. Bruce said, "Are you sure you want to stay at a Share-It-Again?" EEEEUW! Guess not. We'll try a bed and breakfast instead!

If you have any suggestions for must-sees along the way, or helpful dos and don'ts for driving in the area, I'd love to hear about it!


There is a neat discussion going on the QuiltArt list about scissors. Apparently, one of the list members had a professional organizer come to her house and actually told her to get rid of some of hers! Why you'd let a professional organizer into your studio, I have no idea. I'd think that area would be specifically off-limits.

However, it got me thinking about how many pairs of scissors I have, and here's my list:

  • Herb snips/strippers - for their intended purpose only
  • Wustoff all-purpose shears (cutting chicken and other kitchen stuff)
  • Crappy old fiskars shears for anything I won't cut with the Wustoffs
  • My old 5" gingher scissors that my husband appropriated for mustache trimming
Laundry Room
  • One pair cheap shears for cutting loose threads, etc.
  • One other cheap pair for gift wrap and tape
  • Classic Gingher shears for all the "big stuff" (my very first pair of "quilting" scissors, BTW)
  • Gingher 5" "craft scissors" I bought for Hawaiian quilting, because you can cut through 8 layers of fabric with some precision
  • Gingher 4" embroidery scissors for my hand sewing kit
  • Gingher 4" curved tip embroidery scissors for machine embroidery/sewing
  • Fiskars soft-touch Micro-tip clippers (a gift, and my new favorites)
  • Olfa 60mm ergo cutter
  • Olfa 45mm ergo cutter
  • Olfa 45mm standard cutter (my first one!)
  • Olfa 28mm standard cutter (a gift when I first started quilting)
  • Olfa 18mm standard cutter (purchased for workshop and LOVE IT for small, detailed trimming)
  • Old fiskars shears for cutting parchment and freezer paper, patterns, etc.
So I guess that brings me to a total of 17! There are very few I would part with since each one I only use for a particular purpose. If one pair did it all, I wouldn't need so many.

And isn't it interesting...I don't know about you, but buying GOOD scissors seems like a special event to me. Funny how I can drop $30 on fabric without blinking an eye, but hesitate at a pair of $30 shears.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My Quilting/Fiber Books for Sale on

I just listed ten books for sale on - CLICK HERE. Many are in new or very good condition - here is a quick list:
  • Thread Magic, by Ellen Anne Eddy - Hard to find Fiber Studio Press edition.
  • Coloring with Thread, by Anne Fahl
  • Bead Creative Art Quilts, by Nancy Eha
  • Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter, by Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker
  • Creative Correspondence, by Michael & Judy Jacobs
  • Natural Impressions-Taking an Artistic Path Through Nature, by Carolyn A. Dahl
  • Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women, by Gail McMeekin
  • Pineapple Stars, by Sharon Rexroad
  • When Quilters Gather, by Ruth B. McDowell
  • Butterfly Album, by Bea Oglesby
My seller ID is MauiArtQuilter. It was time for me to clear out some room in my library and these are books I bought by have never used. Some are brand new. I hope you'll take a look!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

RIP Old Thread Stand

Some of the threads I use do not fit on my standard Bernina 160 spool pins, so the first time I needed to use a cone of thread with this machine, I improvised:

I used this for such a long time that I can't remember where I read about it, but it was a good idea for a time. (The thread comes off the cone and through the little circle at the top, then goes through the regular thread path on the machine.)

One day, I was having trouble (and undoubtedly swearing) with this format, and said, "I really need a thread stand to use with this machine." Bruce just happened to be in earshot and asked me for details. Handy guy that he is (thanks, Honey!), a short time later he presented me with this:

A very functional thread stand made of a block of scrap wood, a broken chopstick and a wire coat hanger. Perfectly functional, and something I used for a couple of years! But with the sale of my recent quilt came a shopping spree that included this:

I've been surfing eBay to find one of these and each time I got outbid, so I bought it for full retail at our local Bernina dealer. It will come in very handy for the threading I need to do on my quilts and for my class with Carol Taylor at Art Quilt Tahoe in November.

So, good-bye old thread stand! Maybe I'll give the parts back to Bruce and see what he can MacGuyver up next!

Monday, June 18, 2007

This Just In

Had to let you know the great news!

Honu II sold at the gallery on Saturday!!!

More updates soon...there is a lot of stuff going on right now.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Honu II at the Gallery

I've been working like crazy to get Honu II finished for Viewpoints Gallery. The first one was so well received, they asked for another!

Despite some machine/thread issues in the eleventh hour (my Janome 1600 doesn't like Oliver Twist thread), he was delivered safe and sound this morning.

This one is 41.5" x 47", just a little different than the almost 45" square first one. I also used a slightly different background: this is Hoffman "Macaw;" the first one was Hoffman "Delft." I rather like the macaw.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Please Say NO to Plastic and Paper Bags

According to US Census Bureau data, Maui County had approximately 62,000 households in 2005. If you estimate that each household receives an average of 10 plastic bags per week from various sources, a possible 620,000 bags per week could potentially go to our landfill. That’s an astonishing 32.2 million bags per year. And that number does not include our visitor population, so it could easily be doubled.

In March, San Francisco became the first US city to ban plastic bags in supermarkets and drugstores. In 2002, Ireland passed a “PlasTax,” charging customers 20 cents per plastic bag, to discourage use. Many other cities and countries are following suit. Do you know that it takes a thousand years for a plastic bag to decompose, and one month for paper? However, paper is not much better, since producing the paper bags creates a great deal of air and water pollution. It’s time to just say “No” to plastic and paper bags and Maui, with our eco-friendly environment, should be the first county to do it!

It isn’t difficult. Walk around your home and take out your stash of canvas and other reusable material bags. You know you have them – from tradeshows, specialty stores, totes you’ve received as gifts but never used. You might even be surprised how many you have – I found twelve! Put them in the trunk of your car or behind/on the back seat. Take them into every grocery/discount/drug/card/retail/department store you frequent. Say, “No, thank you, I brought my own bag(s).” Clerks will sometimes give you a funny look, frown, say “your bag will get dirty if I put this in there.” It’s OK, they wash. Be gentle, yet firm. Say something funny, like “I’m saving a plastic tree.” You might even get a smile. In a pinch, reuse and recycle the paper and plastic you already have. Pause and think: Do I really need a plastic bag for that one item?

You CAN do it. When I tell people I do this, they say, “Oh, I can never remember to use them.” Do you always forget to put on your underwear or brush your teeth? If you make it a habit, you WILL remember and you will feel good about it, too. Ask your kids/spouse/partner/friend to help you remember. Don’t have any bags? Go to your local store and purchase one or two to start, then purchase one per week until you have five or six, which is enough to package up a full grocery cart. Are you creative? Sew up a few of your own bags in fun colors. They are quick, easy and inexpensive to make, and our local fabric stores have a wide variety of patterns to choose from. It’s a great project for your Girl Scout troup or other group. Why not make up a bunch for a fundraiser?

And retailers, a little help, please? Ask your checkout clerks and helpers to be nice to your customers who use their own bags. Ask them to remember to give your customers the reusable bag credit without being asked, and without having to ask 10 different people for the code in the register. Instruct them to use fewer paper and plastic bags at the checkout – you don’t need to bag a gallon of milk or juice, or a 5lb bag of potatoes. Make it a habit! Consider a promotion to give canvas bags away with a $50 or $100 purchase – stamp your store name on the side for free advertising. Sell good-quality bags at a reasonable price!

You can do it. Say “NO” to plastic and bags. See these links for more ideas:

Check out Robin's great Eco-Bags at Quilt-Antics

More about the UKs use of bags on Anne Wigfull's blog Grains in the Wind

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sneak Peek

I had a wonderful time with Kerby Smith and Lura Schwarz Smith in their Maui workshops over the last two weekends.

In Kerby's class, "Demystifying Digital Photography for Quilters," I learned more about my camera in one day then in the eleven months since I've had it! Over the two-day program we learned about our cameras, using Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, and printing our photos on fabric.

This is an image I created after taking the class. It's a picture of one of the crotons from our front yard. I colored it up in Elements and will be printing it out on fabric to use in an upcoming quilt.

I'll post more later. It is a very busy week!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Step by Step

A mentor I worked with a while back said, “You just aren’t happy until you can tie a big red bow around it.” Meaning, the perfectionist in me wants everything to be just right when something is finished. No hanging threads, so to speak.

Today is a crazy day. My first day back to work after a four-day weekend, three days of which were spent in the company of the lovely Lura Schwarz Smith and her “Designing Art Quilts” workshop (more on that later). Back to work despite our guild meeting being tomorrow night, so I am straddling the two worlds (work and quilt) quite precariously.

I am now looking at my planner and considering a change. I’ve been a Franklin Covey user for a long, long time. I use the software version (PlanPlus for Outlook) on my laptop for work, but can’t seem to break away from the paper version for personal use. There is something to be said for the tactileness of paper and pen (I use a purple one). But as I look at this week’s two-page spread, it looks crowded with tasks and ugly. I have scribbled my things TO DO in each small daily square and filled them to overflowing. The purple pen that I usually love looks garish.

I still have that nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something.

The A-Z order is missing from these random to-dos. I think I will rewrite them on another page so I can look at them clearly and feel better.

Then I can check off each task with its big red bow.